April 23, 2019 | 67° F

EDITORIAL: Creating communities through art

Performing arts center for students is positive for everyone involved


The Athletics Department is not the only program at Rutgers that is going to see future improvements. After being put to a vote by the University’s Board of Governors on Thursday, Rutgers has approved an investment of $17 million for a new performing arts center in the Downtown New Brunswick. This investment will go toward the partial ownership of this performing arts center, which will serve as a place for Mason Gross School of the Arts students to practice and rehearse. After the completion of this center, Rutgers also proposed a new musical theater program offered to University students.

The other “owners” of the performing arts center will be other groups from the New Brunswick community, including the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO) the George Street Playhouse, the New Brunswick Cultural Center and the American Repertory Ballet. With each of these companies and organizations acting as co-owners, the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center will truly be a part of the community. This center will bring a sense of unity among the community that will not be lost on its residents.

This news could not have come at a better time for both Rutgers and its Mason Gross School of the Arts students.

In a political climate where President Donald J. Trump has proposed budget plans that cut funding for arts and humanities programs, a University as well-known as Rutgers investing money into a performing arts center sends a strong message that arts and humanities are a crucial component to its excellence.

Even though the University has recently come under fire by some of its own faculty for its recent athletic spending, it is sending a positive message by funding its arts program. By investing into an arts program as well as athletics it creates a balance that benefits all students. Even though Mason Gross School of the Arts did fundraise $10 million of the $17 million on its own, the mere fact that the University is standing behind it and implementing a new program to welcome more arts students is good for the school's morale. Plus, the 25 percent projected increase in those who attend the performing arts center after New Brunswick renovates it will be good news to students. With all of the hard work and dedication that the students put into their crafts, it will be positive reinforcement for them to see their programs attracting more attention from the community.

Aside from its ability to increase practice space and audiences for Mason Gross School of the Arts students, the investment in the performing arts center will be able to do something that is hard to achieve in some areas — it will unite the neighborhood. With a resolution that involves giving joint responsibility of scheduling, management and operation of the space to each organization, the new performing arts center is creating a community between Rutgers and its surrounding neighbors in the City of New Brunswick. The more people that are involved in this center, the more connections and relationships are built.

Rutgers is a school that accommodates for almost everyone. Although there are a few programs that are not offered at Rutgers, it is clear to see that the University is making efforts to fix this. The performing arts center is a step in the right direction, and with the strides the University is making in other departments as well, this is the first step of many.

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